The Mariners won their 2nd game in a row (clinching the series win) on Sunday, beating the A’s 5-3. The Mariners had their first multi home run game, but walked just once and struck out 5 times. The team saw just 125 pitches in the game, while an average lineup (based on league average being about 16 pitches per inning) would see 144 pitches per game. The normal lineup (the one we have seen most of the time) had an OBP of just .275 coming into the game on Sunday (the team’s actual total is .271, last year it was last in the league at .292, so they have actually been worse so far this year) and seen 3.85 pitches per plate appearance. This means the team is seeing about 132.5 pitches per game, 12 pitches below average. Over the course of a full season, this means that the team will see 1944 less pitches than an average team. This is great news if you like really quick baseball games, but terrible news if want to see the Mariners succeed. Most striking is the fact that the Mariners do not have a qualified player that is league average or better in OBP.
In the game on Sunday, Brendan Ryan popped his first bomb of the year, and Justin Smoak hit his 2nd homer of the year. The Mariners ended up taking a 5-3 on horrible fielding by the Athletics, and unfortunately won’t play the Athletics again until June. The team is off on Monday.
Blake Beavan was solid again, only striking out 4 batters in 7 innings, but he didn’t walk anyone and gave up 6 hits. Beavan did get 7 fly-outs versus 6 ground-outs, not a good ratio. Last year, Beavan had a really bad ground-ball to fly-ball ratio of .62, and he had an even worse one in his first start at .31. In the minors, he did have some decent ground-ball ratesAmazingly, Beavan got just 3 swinging strikes in the game, 2 of them from Yeonis Cespedes, notorious for his inability to make consistent contact. He did get plenty of called strikes though. Since he is clearly not a strikeout pitcher, one would expect that he needs to get ground-balls to have success in the Majors.
Minor League Notes:
Carlos Triunfel hit his first homer of the season on Sunday with Tacoma. Tacoma is scoring 5.4 runs a game and giving up 4.5 runs a game. The pitching staff for Tacoma is mainly veteran pitchers like Sean Henn, Jeff Marquez, and Matt Fox (They are older than the average PCL team on the pitching staff, but not that close to to being the oldest), so the pitching stats should not be taken seriously, but they are slightly above average in ERA and 3rd in the PCL in strikeouts. Offensively, the team is on the younger side at 26.4 years old, and are slightly above average in runs scored. They are below average in OBP, and have tied for the fewest steals (they have not been caught stealing, while the Nashville Sounds have been caught as many times as they have stolen successfully). They are second in homers with 11, but have walked the fewest amount of times and struck out the 2nd least amount. The Rainiers really had issues with Travis Blackley (who was reportedly throwing 90-94 MPH), as he no hit them in the first 3 innings.
The AA Jackson Generals have the youngest team in their AA league, and have given up the 2nd fewest runs and scored the 3rd fewest runs. The Generals have been caught stealing the most and walked the least, just what you would expect from a young team. They are in the bottom half in strikeouts however, and are above average at slugging. The pitchers have struck out the most batters and walked the 2nd fewest. On Sunday, Stephen Pryor struck out 5 of the 6 batters he faced. Jackson ended up losing in 16 innings, in a game where both teams ended up having to use a position player on the mound. The bullpen gave up just 1 hit in a 6 inning stretch in the extra inning affair. Denny Almonte went 0 for 7 with 6 strikeouts in the game, and Daniel Carroll had to leave with an injury but is reportedly fine.
For High Desert (A+), Roenis Elias gave up just 1 run on 4 hits (no walks versus 4 strikeouts) in 7 innings in a very run friendly environment.